Two months after becoming East Brunswick’s first kosher restaurant, Giddy’s Pizzeria is thriving under the stewardship of its two young owners.
The pizzeria, which is under the Orthodox supervision of the Vaad Hakashrus of Raritan Valley, is located in the former Loehmann’s Shopping Center on Route 18 North in space formerly occupied by Mr. Pizza. Gideon Finkelstein, 19, a Staten Island resident, was a pizza-maker at the JCC of Staten Island when he made the decision to open his own shop rather than go back to college.
“It’s so exciting,” said Finkelstein. “This is how I used my bar mitzva money.”
He met and befriended his 20-year-old partner, Ted Gill, through mutual friends while both were still in yeshiva high school.
“Business has been steadily picking up,” said Gill. “We’ve been very busy. People seem to like us.”
For Rabbi Jay Weinstein of the Young Israel of East Brunswick, the Vaad’s liaison to Giddy’s, its opening “is a nice marker of the growth of the Jewish community in East Brunswick.”
“It’s a great addition to the East Brunswick Jewish community,” he told NJJN. “It’s becoming a social gathering point…and helps promote our Jewish community.”
Lox, Stock & Deli in Milltown, a meat establishment on the East Brunswick border, is under Conservative supervision. The next closest kosher eateries are in South River, Highland Park, and Manalapan.
Finkelstein chose East Brunswick on the advice of his mother’s optometrist. A member of East Brunswick’s Orthodox community who asked that his name not be used, the eye doctor insisted that East Brunswick would be a good location and showed the partners around the community.
Gill, a resident of Margate near Atlantic City, is temporarily staying with his business partner. He shelved his own higher education plans — he was majoring in business management at Camden County College — to join his friend’s venture as an equal partner.
“People love our food,” said Finkelstein. “At the beginning we were a little inconsistent, but that’s been worked out and people seem very happy, We make our own marinara and fettuccine sauces and everything from scratch. We use fresh mozzarella. Nothing is frozen. We have stuffed shells, baked ziti, penne vodka. We make our own bread for our heroes.”
However, educating the general public about kashrut is a bit of a challenge, said Finkelstein. He needs to gently explain to some customers why chicken Caesar salad and pepperoni pizza are not on the dairy restaurant’s menu.
Diners posting on the restaurant’s Facebook page seem to agree on the quality of the food. Dovid Dobin, the assistant manager at Amazing Savings in the same shopping center, posted that at the end of a more than 11-hour shift, “I got a visit from Giddy, bearing the gift of pizza. So, Giddy is awesome. But seeing as most of you are probably more interested in the food, I am pleased to report that it, too, is awesome.”
Shmuel Mischel posted, “So good I think I died and went to pizza heaven.”
More information on its menu, delivery service, and hours of operation can be found at giddyspizzeria.com.